Friday, 03 July, 2020

Iowa inmate argues life sentence ended when he briefly died

Benjamin Schreiber Enlarge Image Benjamin Schreiber Iowa Department of Corrections
Deanna Wagner | 10 November, 2019, 17:26

He was rushed unconscious to the hospital where he went through cardiopulmonary resuscitation, a surgery and was given antibiotics.

Benjamin Schreiber was sentenced to life without parole after being convicted of murder for killing a man with the handle of an axe in 1996.

He claims that because he "momentarily died" at the hospital that his life sentence has been served and took a case to the court of appeals.

According to NPR, the judges said Schreiber is "either alive, in which case he must remain in prison, or he is dead, in which case this appeal is moot".

In 2015, Schreiber kidney stones caused infectious poisoning.

Schreiber's brother told hospital staff that "if he is in pain, you may give him something to ease the pain, but otherwise you are to let him pass", according to court records obtained by The Des Moines Register.

Schreiber apparently argued that he was sentenced to life, "not to life plus one day".

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Professor Primus said that if people were considered legally dead before being resuscitated, it would create a web of problems, not just in criminal cases but also for insurance and inheritance claims.

However, a lower court didn't buy it.

Choose Amanda Potterfield, of the Iowa Court docket of Appeals, upheld the decrease courtroom in an opinion issued on Wednesday.

A district court judge said his argument was "unpersuasive and without merit" adding that his ability to petition for release "in itself confirms the petitioner's current status as living".

But judges said Schreiber's bid - while original - was "unpersuasive". It notes that Schreiber cited no case law to bolster his arguments.

The 66-year-old Benjamin Schreiber was sentenced to life imprisonment for life imprisonment.